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COSMIC RHINO

South Africa on the spot speeding fines

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This must have become very common, at nearly all the places I went to in July , the guide or tracker asked self guide guests if the police were asking for fines to be paid in cash.

 

The fundamental advice was don't speed so you could not be pulled over and on the spot speeding fines are not allowed under South African law.

 

I was told that the officer would issue a ticket from an old book which was kept for private use, the station never saw the book. Any payments made would be kept by the officer. The amount of the fine would be seriously above what is specified by law. Anyone who paid it at the full amount would have a description of their car phoned through to a police friend of the officer at a onward point of their likely journey. tHe next officer would expect full payment at the inflated amount, and call another officer on the likely journey.

 

The advice was to phone up a lawyer, just invent a number and start talking in a one way conversation about your situation. After a while tell the policeman that the lawyer needed to speak to them , and they would refuse to take the phone.

 

The only valid way to pay a speeding fine is with a proper ticket at a police station.

 

The advice was to say that you would pay the fine at a police station . A fair number of people accept the ticket and do not go to the police station. Payment of speeding fines is not covered by international country to country agreements, so you can't be followed up for the unpaid fine at home.

 

The guides opinion is that this is nothing more than an attempt by some police officers to gather cash for their private use.

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This is a sad state of affairs.

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Isnt it incredible that they cant stop the extermination and extinction of their national treasures but they can inflict this..SA is corrupt to the core and i do feel very sorry for all the lovely people that have to endure a parasite like Jacob Zuma..

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Hang on a minute-"south Africa is corrupt to the core"- a bit of a sweeping statement and surely not all that helpful. Every country has problems with abuse of power-the Uk may not have some poorly paid policeman pocketing the fines for speeding, but it does have an extraordinay number of ex-government ministers taking jobs in private companies that just happen to operate in the areas that they were government ministers in-its a much more elegant form of corruption but I am not sure it is any different. In our very first self drive-rather tired from an overnight flight we were quite properly pulled over for speeding-and paid a cash fine as we were 1. guilty of speeding and 2 worried about the consequences of not doing so.That was the only time in 4 trips(and we are back next year)-needlesss to say we have not broke the speed limit again.On the way we have met very friendly people from all walks of life and have had great holidays in areas of great beauty. Mind you we have never met anyone who wants to legalise rhino horm trade , or who is a hunter, so we may have been lucky there! We know we are tourists, and don't live there and we know the very real problems the country faces-but considering how little historical time has passed since aparteid -well from an outsiders viewpoint South Africa has done very well.It is a great reasonably priced place to see wildlife as well.Mild rant over.Relaxed now....

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It is true that spot-fines are effectively illegal, and thus probably only a bribe. Please do not pay them, take the ticket and pay it in the next town you get to. In the major centres, you can now also pay fines at some of the larger grocery stores.

 

The company I work for, does business in many parts of the world, and believe me, there are places where corruption is both far worse and far more open than here.

 

The police also try "scare tactics" in some instances, arresting people at roadblocks for unpaid fines and also for not having transponders for the new E-Toll system in the Johannesburg/Pretoria area. This is illegal, unless they can prove that you were served a summons and the court date has passed. I would recommend the "phone a lawyer" trick here too, or just lots of patience. DO NOT let them arrest you, it is illegal. They can only arrest you for serious offences, such as drunk driving, gross speeding (more than 40km/h over the ruling limit) or reckless and negligent driving.

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I have never paid a bribe in South Africa. I won't.

 

I know its common practice in Joburg and Pretoria, even more common in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

 

I have heard of people getting fined in Mozambique for driving bare foot, or for driving with their lights on in a convoy, and most speeding fines there are scams anyway. A rule in countries like Zim, is never to hand your drivers license or documents over. They can look at it, but not take it out your hands.

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Posted (edited)

was also told that not stopping at a stop sign wil lead to a on the spot fine

 

if you want to avopid this sort of stuff keep to all the road rules

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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On the way to Punda Maria, I was going 74 in a 60 zone. Me bad, I was speeding without realizing it. So I got pulled over and was asked by the officer"What cold drink can you offer me?" I had Coke and water, but he wanted lemonade. So then I offfered him Tuna fish and he asked what that is. " Fish in a can". So he said that would be fine and my "ticket" for that stop cost me two cans of Tuna fish and a can of beans for good measure. Hated to do it, but would have hated more to go find the police station and pay as we were late already. We had a good laugh at this story, even though it is sad and disturbing that officers of the law behave in this manner. And yes, I know, I'm not helping it by indulging them and giving in yo being bribed.

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Same kind of experience here. 78 in a 60 zone (no habitation, so a bit weird). Cop did not ask for cash though. He said I needed to pay at the police station in a town I had passed 15 mins ago. Wasn't too keen on losing an hour or more doing that. So I gave him something, and he let me go. Yes, it's not cool. Yes, it's not correct. But hey, if I do the same over here in Belgium, I'd be 150€ lighter. Now ...not even 1/20th of that. Plus I came home with a cool "bribing a cop" story. To put things in perspective...

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I feel sadly disappointed that any tourist would knowingly flout the law of another country, and thus help to perpetuate a problem often highlighted as a negative, by both residents and visitors. Sorry if this comes across as a bit ' holier than thou'.

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I had the following incident last year:

 

Driving past back to Jhb from Kruger, just past Nelspruit and I get pulled over.

Knew I wasn't doing 120, so I asked why I was pulled over.

Cop points to a sign.....80km/h. Ok, fair enough. And also shows me radar machine, yup, I was doing 97.

Then he asks how I intend to pay for the fine. I told him, is not a problem, the car hire company would take care of it. He must have asked about 5 times. I said to him, the car hire co will take care of it, please can I have the fine, and I would be on my way.

So with a look of disappoinment on his face, he duly did.

Ironically, as I was pully back onto the road, it started raining.

 

When I took the car back at the airport, I gave them the hand written fine, and they said when the electronic version comes in the post, it will be charged to my credit card. A year later, and it still hasn't been.

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In December-January we spent 4 weeks doing self-drive safaris in the Kruger - we stayed outside the park and used all the gates. We had no problems in the north or the south - most of the police activity was between Hazyview and Hoedspruit. Along just the short stretch of the R40, between Hazyview and the Orpen Gate turnoff, we saw 11 different lots of traffic police in one day! They seemed to be targeting hire cars.

 

The lodge we were staying at gave all their guests a small card that they should show to the traffic officer should they get pulled over...

 

Roadside-Anti-Corruption-Initiative.png

 

We met a couple from Sweden and when they were staying at Cheetah Plains in the Sabi Sand - they were pulled over 3 times for allegedly speeding and 'other' offences and each time they paid up to R2000,00 cash.

 

We were travelling from Hazyview to Makalali Game Reserve so we passed the 10 police cars without incident and then, after turning onto the R531, we were pulled over by cop number 11 - she showed me the radar and I was doing 83 kms p/h in a 60 zone but she let me go with a warning - she asked for nothing in return so there are some honest cops left!

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Having spent years driving vehicles up and down Africa here's my personal rating of the general level of corruption among police officers, from least to most: :P

 

Botswana, Namibia, RSA, Rwanda, Egypt, Sudan, Zambia, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi

 

Malawi officers will sometimes accept western women's fashion magazines in lieu of cash. :D

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Malawi officers will sometimes accept western women's fashion magazines in lieu of cash. :D

 

~ @@ellenhighwater

 

Malawi's constabulary draped in Prada.

Who knew?

To think that Anna Wintour has clout in Lilongwe!

Tom K.

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